Why Should You Consider Undergraduate Research?
The Department of Biological Sciences encourages undergraduate students to become involved in a research project under the direction of a faculty member. Whether you are planning to go to graduate school or pursue a career upon graduation, one of the factors that often gives our students an edge is the opportunity to engage in research and become familiar with the state-of-the-art instrumentation used in our research today.
Students often consider enrolling in undergraduate research credits after they have completed foundational courses at the beginning of junior year. However, students are welcome to begin collaborating on a research project at any time.
Earn credits toward your degree by registering for Special Problems in Biology (BL4000) or Research in Biochemistry (BL4995). Students in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are required to take 3 credits of BL4995. Select the number of credits to take based on your desired time commitment, which is approximately three hours a week per credit. Students may register for multiple terms—most projects last longer than 14 weeks. Prior to registering, you must meet with a professor and obtain permission to enroll. Check our faculty profiles to find a professor doing research in your area of interest.
Undergraduate students are encouraged to identify faculty members with shared research interests, and then collaborate on research projects. Volunteer work, short- and long-term employment, and research credit (BL4000 and BL4995) all provide valuable experience—and opportunities for professional and academic growth. Positions are variable, depending on the needs of faculty members and the availability of funding.
Students are encouraged to apply to the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, which offers summer fellowships for paid work on undergraduate research projects. Undergraduates conduct research with faculty members for approximately 10 weeks. The program is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Honors Institute.